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Published on Monday, December 21, 2020

More countries block passenger flights from the UK






More countries have suspended flights from the UK amid concern over a new strain of Covid-19, including a growing number of destinations outside of Europe.


Canada has banned inbound passenger flights from midnight tonight for 72 hours; Colombia is suspending direct flights to/from London from today until further notice, while a ban on UK flights into Kuwait is expected to come into force by tomorrow. Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Morocco, El Salvador and Argentina have also acted.


Israel has banned entry to non-Israelis travelling from the UK and is insisting visitors who have come from the UK must self-isolate on arrival in designated accommodation.


Turkey has also suspended flights, while Spain has said it will cut flights if there is no joint EU response to the threat of the new strain. Germany has suspended flights until 11pm on New Year's Eve.


France and Ireland have banned flights as well as other forms of transport, including ferries, for 48 hours from midnight on Sunday. Eurostar services are now only operating one-way until the end of tomorrow.





The first destination to act was the Netherlands, on Sunday morning, which said it was halting passenger flights to and from the UK until 1 January 2021. Belgium followed shortly after, halting flights and Eurostar trains from the UK for at least 24 hours from midnight on Sunday as a 'precaution' against the new strain.


Luxembourg, Austria and Latvia then made similar announcements: Luxembourg is halting flights for at least 24 hours from midnight on Sunday and Latvia until 1 January. Austria's 24-hour ban comes into force at midnight on 22 December. Germany banned all flights from 23:00 on Sunday, December 20, until 31 December.


Portugal is restricting travel to/from the UK, with the exception of Portuguese citizens and those legally resident in Portugal from midnight on Sunday 20 December.


Following Italian foreign minister Luigi Di Maio's tweet yesterday that Italy was 'about to sign the order to suspend flights with Great Britain,' the country's ban came into force last night, until 6 January.


Denmark has suspended flights for 48 hours from 9am today and Finland has suspended flights from 12 noon today until Monday 4 January.


Romania has introduced a 14-day ban from today, while Bulgaria is suspending flights until 31 January and Estonia's ban runs until 1 January. The Czech Republic has suspended flights from today.


Switzerland is imposing stricter quarantine measures from people arriving from the UK and Sweden says it plans to introduce similar measures, but no details are available yet.


Belgium's Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, said his country's ban 'could be extended should it appear that we have more conclusive data'.


The government said it is also in talks with the French government to closely monitor people arriving from the UK by car and increase checks at the border.


The Dutch ban does not currently apply to car, ferry and train passengers, though the Dutch government is keeping this under review and advises against all but essential travel, according to an update by the UK government.




 


 

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